The lawsuit, which the manufacturers filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses Yahoo of copyright and trademark infringement, unfair competition, and offering illegal devices for sale. The lawsuit asks the court to order Yahoo to stop the sales. It also seeks compensatory damages of up to $100,000 per copyright violation, and up to $2,500 for each sale of the hardware devices - some of which are called "Mod Chips" - that allow people to circumvent copyright protection, says Jeff Brown, a spokesman for Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts.
Yahoo spokeswoman Diane Hunt offers little comment on the lawsuit. "We're not aware of specific situations," she says.
The gamemakers claim people are selling the illegal items in Yahoo's auction area, and in the shopping area that Yahoo leases to outside merchants. "They are openly sold and labeled" with phrases like 'back up copy,' 'compilation disk' and 'never published,' according to Brown. "It's very widespread and blatant."